Big Mac Machine keeps rolling along with Yates Cup win

The No. 1 nationally ranked Marauders captured their second consecutive Yates Cup title with a 30-13 victory over the Guelph Gryphons Saturday before an overflow crowd of 5,427 at McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium.

Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson (Aerial Promotions)

The win extends the reigning Vanier Cup champions’ winning streak to a Canadian Interuniversity Sport record of 20 consecutive conference and playoff contests, breaking the previous mark of 19 set by the Laval Rouge et Or in the 2004 and 2005 campaigns.

McMaster linebacker Shane Beaton (Brampton) took the Dalt White Trophy as most valuable player of the Yates Cup game, delivering 10 solo tackles, including three tackles for a loss, and one pass breakup. He was also named Port Airlines player of the game.

McMaster scored 21 unanswered points over the course of 10 minutes in the first and second quarters, capitalizing on a pair of Guelph miscues to score 10 of those points off turnovers. The Marauder defence repeatedly succeeded in pinning the Gryphons, rated No. 5 in the country going into the Ontario University Athletics showdown, deep in their end in the first half, forcing the Gryphons to concede three safety touches rather than punt from the shadow of their own goalposts.

“I thought our defence played tremendously well when they were backed up,” said McMaster head coach Stefan Ptaszek. “They did a great job forcing field goals and creating turnovers, so our 21-3 lead (in the second quarter) was a product of finishing on defence, but not finishing in the score zone.”

Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson (Aerial Promotions)

This season’s league MVP and McMaster quarterback Kyle Quinlan (South Woodslee) posted a stunning 80% completion percentage, connecting on 16 of 20 passes, while amassing 265 yards and two touchdowns. Quinlan added 70 yards on 11 rushes. His favourite target, Mike DiCroce (Hamilton), accounted for 144 yards on seven receptions.

For the Gryphons, quarterback Jazz Lindsey (Markham) threw for 319 yards, completing 29 of 47 attempts and throwing three interceptions.

In their only previous meeting this year, McMaster downed Guelph 50-9 in the first week of the regular season, accounting for Guelph’s only other defeat of the 2012 campaign.

The win gives McMaster its sixth Yates Cup title in club history, all from 2000 to date.

The Gryphons opened the scoring at the 4:38 mark of the first quarter, capping their first possession of the game with a 12-yard field goal from Julian Tropea (Niagara Falls). Guelph spotted McMaster its first two points on its next possession, Tropea conceding his first of three safety touches.

McMaster’s offence found the end zone on the ensuing possession with a Quinlan-to-Robert Babic (Oakville) play for a two-yard passing major. Two plays later, Lindsey threw an interception into the waiting arms of Marauder defensive back Scott Martin (London), which McMaster soon converted into three points via a 20-yard Tyler Crapigna (Nepean) field goal.

A Guelph fumble on the next play from scrimmage promptly gave McMaster the ball on the Guelph 39 yard-line and Quinlan wasted little time in connecting with Tyler Loveday (Kitchener) on a 21-yard pass-and-run touchdown to give McMaster a 19-3 lead in the opening minute of the second quarter.

Guelph struggled on its ensuing possessions, in turn conceding a second safety touch and throwing an interception. The Gryphons offence finally gelled on a 13-play, 71-yard drive culminating in a one-yard rushing major by Lindsey. One further safety touch conceded by Guelph sent the teams to the intermission with a 23-10 McMaster lead.

McMaster added to its lead margin in the third quarter, off a two-yard rushing major by Kasean Davis-Reynolds (Mississauga). Guelph responded on the ensuing possession with a 16-yard field goal by Tropea. A scoreless fourth quarter was highlighted by a McMaster pass rush tallying three sacks in the final five minutes of play, stifling Guelph’s sputtering offence.

McMaster will host the CIS semi-final Mitchell Bowl on Saturday (Nov. 17) against the Hardy Cup champions, the Calgary Dinos, who defeated the Regina Rams. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. and the game will be televised on TSN.